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"Heading South"

Posted at 12:11 PM on February 13, 2007 by Euan Kerr (2 Comments)

Having missed the handful of opportunities to see "Heading South" on the big screen, it finally popped up in the DVD queue at home.

This is the Laurent Cantet film set against the turmoil of 1970's Haiti. A group of older North American women gather at a gated resort, to enjoy the beach, and the attentions of the younger Haitian men who make themselves available.

It's a morally bankrupt situation that's ripe for dramatic exploitation, and as director and screenwriter Cantet plays it to the max.

There's Ellen (Charlotte Rampling) the Ivy League professor tormented by how men react to her in the US as she becomes older, Brenda (Karen Young) on the run from a marriage which collapsed after she had an affair during her first trip to Haiti, and Sue (Louise Portal) a successful French-Canadian businesswoman who finds success doesn't bring her all she wants in Montreal.

All three are eager to enjoy a place where they feel they set the rules for a change, where they can escape the oppressions of gender and age.

Cantet's script very quickly scrapes beneath the surface of this supposed paradise. For one thing Ellen and Brenda find themselves competing for the attentions of Legba (Menothy Cesar,) one of the young men on the beach. Both women claim they know what is best for Legba and his future, even as they conveniently ignore the brutal realities of Haitians living under the excesses of the Duvalier regime.

Charlotte Rampling's performance is particularly remarkable. She appears cold and calculating in her desire to make sure her own needs are met, but she understands a great deal more than she lets on, both about her relationship with Legba and with the other women. As the situation spins out of control it is Rampling who provides as the emotional barometer.

Like the best of script writers, Cantet ties up the plot, but leaves a great deal hanging in the form of uncomfortable questions about the power of money, the blindness caused by a sense of entitlement, and how cultures can clash even when propelled by the best of intentions.

Comments (2)

i need to have this movie my number is 954-793-8739

Posted by etienne mathurin | June 25, 2007 9:38 PM

i need to have this movie my number is 954-793-8739 heading south

Posted by etienne mathurin | June 25, 2007 9:42 PM

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